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Holy Cow

I have a confession: I had such a *huge* crush on David Duchovny when I was a kid and he was on the "X-Files" (I just dated myself). I tried to watch him on "Californication", but oh my gosh, that show is a little too much for me. At any rate, I read his fiction title "Holy Cow". It was super cute, a quick, fun, light read. Elsie the cow has figured out that the people on the farm are raising her to be food. Which is disgusting! (I agree, Elsie. This is why I am vegan). Elsie makes plans to flee to India, after seeing on the humans' TV that cows are sacred in India. A pig who calls himself Shalom and a turkey named Tom want to join her, Shalom wants to go to Israel, since they don't eat pork, and Tom wants to go to Turkey because hey, come on, they can't possibly eat turkeys in Turkey, right? They do manage to make it overseas, hilariously, and have some fun adventures, but they end up coming back home to America, deciding that because they are animals, they should enjoy the life they have and the part they play in the circle of it. Aww...sweet. But still, don't eat animals. It's sad.

Another book claiming to have solved the nearly century old murder of actor and director William Desmond Taylor, "Tinseltown" by William J. Mann was very vividly written and read more like fiction than nonfiction. Mann didn't delve into Taylor's messy private life, his many secrets, instead focusing on three women whose lives circled around his: Mary Miles Minter, the young girl who fancied herself in love with him and thought that if it weren't for her meddling, overprotective mother they'd be married; Mabel Normand, Taylor's good friend and the last person (other than the murderer) who saw Taylor alive; and Margaret Gibson, known as "Gibby", a failing actress who would do anything for fame. Gibby was hooked up with some shady characters in the early 1920s, con men who were caught blackmailing rich, prominent people. Mann believes Gibby knew some of Taylor's secrets and she and her cohorts were blackmailing him. Something went wrong the night he was murdered, and Gibby spent her whole life hanging onto that secret, until she confessed on her deathbed. No one took her seriously, at the time she was a recluse, destitute. It's as good a theory as any other I've heard. It's a shame we'll probably never know the truth.

"Finding Jake" by Bryan Reardon was pretty heartbreaking, I cried at the end. There's been a shooting at Jake's school, and his parents, Simon and Rachel, are frantic with worry. All the kids are eventually accounted for except for Jake. Immediately the police and media jump to the conclusion that Jake was in on the killings, the second shooter, since he was friendly with the first shooter, Doug. Simon and Rachel are frustrated the police aren't doing more to find Jake, treating him like a suspect, when they known damn well he was a good kid who would never do such a thing, although Simon feels guilty for having his nagging doubts. Their neighbors and former friends are calling them horrible things, accusing them of raising a monster. Simon finally finds Jake's body, since the police have completely dropped the ball, and it turns out Jake was actually a hero. He went to Doug's house the morning of the shooting, knowing he was going to do something, trying to talk him out of it. Doug shot him in the back, and in his last painful moments of life Jake grabbed Doug's box of ammunition and ran outside, scattering the bullets, hoping Doug wouldn't be able to hurt anyone. Doug gunned him down for good, left his body at their old childhood fort, and went to school with Jake's blood on his hands, killing thirteen of his classmates before taking his own life. Simon is of course incensed that the same people who called his boy a killer are now trying to pretend like they're sorry and calls some of them out on it, much to his wife's horror. I was with Simon on that, he was actually much nicer than I would have been. At any rate, it was a great reminder of how, as a society, we're quick to pounce on the salacious details without waiting to see what the truth might actually be.

Venetia

I was in the mood for something light and romantic and sparkly, so of course I thought immediately of Georgette Heyer. I love her books. "Venetia" was completely charming. Venetia has been stuck in the country her whole life, her father, an eccentric recluse after the death of her mother, never wanted her out in society. He passed away a few years earlier, and Venetia's brother, Conway, inherited the lands and the title, but he's been in the Army for years and trusts Venetia to look after the estate and their youngest brother, Aubrey, who is a brilliant boy with a lame leg. Venetia has two suitors calling on her, neither of whom she has much affection for, Edward and Oswald. Edward is dull, Oswald is very young and acts like a twit. Then Lord Damerel returns to his neighboring estate. Lord Damerel is a rake, who ran off at twenty-two with a married woman, ruining forever his reputation. When he first meets Venetia, collecting blackberries on his land, he's utterly enchanted by her quick wit and gorgeous looks. Venetia is less charmed by him at first, but after Damerel rescues Aubrey after he falls from his horse, and she sees how kind he is to her younger brother, and how much affection her brother has for him, she softens and the two become friends.  Damerel knows nothing can come of their friendship, he doesn't want her to throw away her chances for a good, respectable marriage. Then one day Conway sends home his pregnant bride and her mother, and without warning Aubrey and Venetia's happy household is thrown into turmoil by the overbearing mother in law. Venetia's aunt and uncle in London implore her to come stay with them, so they can properly introduce her into society, and after securing a place for Aubrey with Damerel, she goes to London. Damerel is torn: sad to see her go and missing her dreadfully, but knowing he can't marry her.
While in London Venetia learns the truth: her mother did not die when she was a little girl, she ran off from her father, divorced him, and married another man, abandoning the children she never wanted in the first place. After seeing how happy her mother is, even after she destroyed her reputation, Venetia makes a bold decision to go after Lord Damerel come hell or high water. Oh, it was such good fun! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

So it's finally getting interesting again in the "Walking Dead" series by Robert Kirkman. The survivors have been settled for a few years now (Carl is about 16, I think) and they are rebuilding civilization, making bread, all sorts of wonderful things. Carl wants to move to their other location to apprentice with the blacksmith, and Rick reluctantly lets him go, realizing he's not a little boy and he shouldn't hold him back. At the end we find out a new horror: survivors, dressed in zombie skins. Why? I guess we'll find out in the next issue.




Seth Grahame-Smith's latest, "The Last American Vampire", was very good. The vampire who turned Abraham Lincoln, Henry Sturges, is telling his life story, starting with how he was turned at Roanoke. One of the first English settlers to the new land, Henry's party included a vampire named Crowley. One night Crowley is discovered feeding and he ends up killing the entire Roanoke colony, except for Henry, because he admired his bravery, and little Virginia Dare (as interesting an explanation as to what happened to the Roanoke colony as any, I guess). Henry and Virginia escape Crowley, believing him to be dead, and go to live with the natives. Henry eventually turns Virginia, against his will, and they lose each other. Henry goes on to fight Jack the Ripper, who is actually Crowley, having escaped, and hunts for a mysterious killer targeting vampires. It was a fun read.

"Moriarty" by Anthony Horowitz was amazingly good. There was a fantastic twist I didn't see coming that literally made me gasp out loud. Scotland Yard inspector Jones shows up at Reichenbach Falls after Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes supposedly plunged to their deaths. We know Sherlock faked his death, but did Moriarty truly die? Jones meets a Pinkerton agent from the States, Chase, who has followed a criminal named Clarence Devereaux. Devereaux came at Moriarty's invitation, and Chase wants to nab him bad. They spend a good deal of time trying to track him down and catch him, and when they finally do---I can't spoil it, but it was good.

What a fun book! I'm sorry I missed Shorty's show "Pit Boss", when it aired on Animal Planet. Shorty is a little person who spent ten years in prison for attempted murder. He grew up in the Projects in L.A., ran with the Bloods. Prison straightened him out, he decided he needed to change his life and he came out and started rescuing pit bulls while building a successful entertainment business.

Okay, I've been super lazy lately and haven't been reading, I've been watching both "The Shield" and "Justified" on DVD, trying to finish both series. I'm a bit ashamed of myself, especially with all the good books I have waiting for me :(
At any rate: another Elizabeth I fiction by Alison Weir "The Marriage Game". It was pretty good, I cried when Dudley died. I felt so bad for him, wanting to marry her for so long, and how she kept promising him they would and then screwing him over. In case you can't tell, I know *exactly* how Dudley feels.




Anjelica Huston continues her memoir in "Watch Me". After leaving Ireland and moving to Los Angeles, she hooks up with Jack Nicholson for a tumultuous relationship that finally ends when he impregnates another woman. Anjelica does end up marrying, an artist named Bob, and they spend many years together before he passes away. It was quite sad, but hey, life is often sad.

Quarry's Choice

I love these hard case crime books, they're always so much fun. Max Allan Collins' hitman, Quarry, is back. The Broker has lent Quarry out to a man in Biloxi, part of the Dixie Mafia. One of the head guys wants one of the other head guys taken out, and Quarry has been chosen to get close to Killan and remove him, which he does. It was fun and gritty and sleazy and highly entertaining.

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